PhD research: Andrew Levie

The Faerie Queene and the discourse of ethnogenesis in Elizabethan England and Ireland: Edmund Spenser's poetic undermining of narratives of Antiquity in relation
to the world-picture of his own time

This research project analyses how Edmund Spenser’s epic-romance The Faerie Queene (1590, 1596) undermines narrative historicism and then contrastingly engages in it. On one hand, it argues that Spenser, by manipulating sections and references from classical and medieval texts, tries to debunk and subtly undermine the mystical vision that the sixteenth-century English were coming to have of themselves and their British-Trojan history. However, it then examines whether Spenser manipulates past texts to express Ireland’s barbarity in an attempt to validate its need for colonisation. This project aims to open up an insight into the contrasting power that narrative historicism had on forming English and Irish cultural identities in the Early Modern period.

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Supervisors: Prof. Michael Clarke (Classics) and Dr Clíodhna Carney (English)
Funding: NUIG Hardiman Scholarship (2021–2025)

Research area: cross-cultural encounters